Madison Public Library no longer charging overdue fines

Madison Public Library announces a new virtual library card

MADISON, Wis. — Madison Public Library will no longer charge overdue fines on library materials.

According to a news release, the change is effective immediately.

“Madison Public Library is proud to support our commitment to equity and literacy,” said Library Director Greg Mickells. “By eliminating nearly all overdue fines and ceasing to use a collections agency, we want to encourage even more Madisonians to use the library by removing those barriers to library services. Especially now, we need to make our libraries more accessible.”

The release said the Library Board and library staff began to explore the costs and benefits of moving to a fine-free model last August.

The Board passed a proposed 2021 operating budget last month that included the elimination of fine revenue.

The library has not assessed fines since closing amid the coronavirus pandemic on March 17.

Officials said it became clear last year that overdue fines and blocked library cards resulting from fines disproportionately affected libraries serving neighborhoods with lower incomes and higher percentages of residents of color.

Exceptions to the policy include items checked out from South Central Library System libraries that still charge overdue fines and items borrowed from non-South Central Library System libraries.

Library customers will still be charged replacement costs for items that are lost or damaged.

Anyone with questions about fines or their library accounts can be addressed to the library at or 608-266-6357.